Q: I’ve got a affiliate program that has a lead and sale component. Essentially, we payout an x amount for the lead and an additional y amount for the sale. Obviously, the important part is the sale. The lead is there to attract and help the affiliate as he optimizes his program. But then, there are some affiliates who are getting leads and zero sales. These guys might be hacks or they just might not be good. So my question is: a) can you terminate these affiliates from your program? b) on what grounds? and c) is it ethical?
A: I think the answer here is simple and complex at the same time. Simple because if you’ve got a partnership with somebody that’s not working out, then you should end it.
But it’s complex as well, because there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with affiliate numbers that are not panning out for you.
I would suggest touching base with the affiliates who aren’t producing sales to see if you can work together to improve the numbers.
In the end, it’s all about relationships, and sometimes a small degree of outreach and education can result in great strides for your affiliate program.
If you determine that some affiliates simply are not working out, there is one ultimate authority that determines whether you can terminate the affiliate and on what grounds. And that’s your affiliate agreement.
The affiliate agreed to those terms when joining your affiliate program, so you are simply bound to act according to the agreement. It’s not a matter of ethics, as you both entered the agreement.
I can’t speak to the language in your affiliate agreement – you should speak with your lawyer about the ground rules for terminating affiliates.
In general, the affiliate agreements I’ve seen enable you to terminate affiliates without a specific reason, and affiliates can drop your program just the same.